Former NFL player Ryan O'Callaghan came
out gay Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Outsports.
O'Callaghan played football in college
and was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round of the
2006 NFL Draft. He moved to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009 and
retired from the sport in 2011.
The 33-year-old offensive tackle said
that his fear of being discovered led him to plan his own death once
his football career was over.
“My whole plan was to end my life
after football. I never planned on living. When I was done with
football, that was going to be it,” O'Callaghan
“All I had ever done was think how
bad the reaction would be. It takes a lot more strength to be honest
with yourself than it does to lie,” he added.
O'Callaghan first confided his
sexuality to a drug-abuse counselor whom the Chiefs' head trainer had
advised him to see. The counselor quickly recognized that
O'Callaghan's addiction to painkillers was a cry for help.
“It took a while to build up that
strength to even tell her. You have to build up trust with someone.
Just telling her was, like, a huge weight off my shoulders,” he
He said that he's stepping forward to
help others. “As long as there are people killing themselves
because they are gay, there is a reason for people like me to share
my story and try to help,” O'Callaghan said.